New federal rules irk livestock haulers - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

New federal rules irk livestock haulers

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Horse trainer and rancher Courtney Brockmueller is struggling to understand what new federal regulations will mean for her. (KTEN) Horse trainer and rancher Courtney Brockmueller is struggling to understand what new federal regulations will mean for her. (KTEN)

WHITESBORO, Texas -- CMV. CDL. ELD. Does that sound like gibberish?

Those abbreviations have special significance for people across the nation who haul animals for a living, and federal regulations are about to get a whole lot stricter.

When you think of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), you might picture a huge tractor-trailer that hauls products from city to city.

But CMVs can come in many shapes and sizes, and two weeks ago, new rules and requirements were implemented by the U.S. Department of Transportation that redefine what it means to be a commercial driver.

Professional trainer and rancher Courtney Brockmueller said she learned through Facebook that the rules applied to her and others who transport livestock.

"If you think you're hauling more than 10,000 pounds, then your vehicle will now be labeled a CMV, requiring drivers to be commercial drivers -- whether they want to be or not," she said.

But what does it mean to be a commercial driver? First, you need to pay more than $500 to get a commercial drivers license (CDL). Large trailers need to be registered, and your vehicle requires an electronic logging device (ELD) that monitors how far you drive and keeps track of mandatory breaks.

Brockmueller said it's like being an amateur football player who now has to meet the requirements of the NFL.

She said the federal rules mandate 30-minute breaks and unloading a trailer every eight hours, increasing the health risk to livestock.

"It's frustrating," Brockmueller said. "It's also a little discouraging, I feel like we are getting shoved into commercial driving, which is not what we do."

There is even a petition being shared on change.org with more than 75,000 signatures calling on the government to rescind the electronic logging requirement

"It kind of got sprung on us," Brockmueller said. "We don't have a lot of knowledge, we don't have a lot of handouts or help, knowing what we need and what's expected of us."

There is a grace period for drivers of agricultural vehicles to comply with electronic logging regulations, but that window is scheduled to close in April.

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